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School Is Closed Due To Concerns About Asbestos

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Fears that a renovation project might expose students to hazardous asbestos have forced school officials in Haverford Township, Pa., to close an elementary school seven days before the scheduled end of the academic year.

Despite assurances that preliminary work on the project posed no threat, the absence rate at the 425-student Lynnewood School doubled earlier this month, according to Joseph Anderson, a district spokesman, and "the whole atmosphere was disrupted'' by parental fears.

By closing the school on June 5, Mr. Anderson said, "the district was really anticipating a problem, not reacting'' to an actual danger.

He said the district had twice tested the areas in which work had begun, and found them to be free of asbestos particles. The plaster known to contain the cancer-causing substance, he added, will be removed from school corridors this summer as part of the renovation.--E.F.

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